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Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui

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In July 1944, the Imperial Navy issued a l9-Shi specification for a rocket-propelled target defence interceptor to be based on the Messcrschmitt Me 163B. The task of developing this aircraft was assigned to Mitsubishi under the Navy designa-tion J8M1, but as it was a joint Navy-Army venture it received the designation Ki-200 from the latter service and the name Shusui (Sword Stroke) was also adopted. Development of the Messerschmitt Me 163B rocket-powered fighter in Germany prompted Japan to acquire rights to build this aircraft and its Walter rocket engine.

A complete Me 163B plus an example of the Walter HWK 109 509A engine and detailed blueprints were shipped to Japan in mid-1944 but the submarine carrying this precious cargo was sunk en route. A second submarine managed to get through but this only brought a rocket engine and an Me 163 instruction manual, no detailed plans or blueprints.

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While work on the Walter HWK 109-509 rocket motor (as the Toku Ro.2) was largely confined to its adaptation for Japanese manufacturing techniques. Yokosuzka Naval Aeronautical Engineering Arsenal was given the task of constructing the eng-ine. Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK was instructed to build the fighter though inadequate German data on the airframe dictated considerable original structural design work.

With J8M1 prototype design finalised, the 1st Naval Air Arsenal began construction of a full-scale training glider version at Yokosuka under the designation MXY8 Akigusa (Autumn Grass), and this was towed into the air and flown for the first time in December 1944.

A heavier glider, with ballast tanks to approximate the weight of the operational aircraft, was also built under the designation Ku-13 Shusui (sword stroke). Design of the rocket engine resulted in the 1500kg thrust Toko Ro.2, and this powerplant was installed in the first of the J8M1 Navy Experimental Rocket-Powered Interceptor Fighter Shusui prototypes completed by Mitsubishi.

The first Shusui made an unpowered test flight on 8 January 1945. The first powered flight test took place six months later, on 7 July, but the aircraft was destroyed and no further flight testing was undertaken before the termination of hostilities. Four more Shusui interceptors had been completed by this time, and six more were virtually complete.

J8M
Power Plant: One Toku Ro.2 (KR-20) bi-fuel rocket motor with a maximum thrust of 3,307 lb (1 500 kg)
Endurance: 50-55 min.
Fuel capacity totalled 255 Imp gal (1159 lt) of Ko-liquid and 118 Imp gal (536 lt) of Otsu-liquid
Max speed, 559 mph (900 km/h) at 32,810 ft (10000 m)
Time to 19,685 ft (6000 m), 2.26 min
Time to 32,810 ft (10000 m), 3.5 min
Time to 39,370 ft (12 000 m), 3.83 min
Service ceiling, 39,370 ft (12000 m)
Empty weight equipped, 3,318 lb (1 505 kg)
Max loaded weight, 8,565 lb (3885 kg)
Span, 31 ft 2 in (9,50m)
Length, 19 ft 10 ¼ in (6,05 m)
Height (on dolly), 8 ft l0 ¼  in (2,70 m)
Wing area, 190.84 sq ft (17,73 sq.m)
Armament: Two 30-mm Type 5 cannon with 50 rpg
Crew: 1

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Mitsubishi J8M Shusui

 

 


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